The Democrats recently announced a major climate change plan to be adopted if they win Congress in the fall. They want “net-zero” carbon emissions by 2050, which would require heavy investment in renewable energy.
But their plan would kill endangered species and waste millions of acres of land, says Michael Shellenberger, writing in Forbes.
“There has already been widespread attention to the high economic cost of renewable energy mandates . . . . But now, in response to a growing number of lawsuits and regulations, and a new Michael Moore documentary about the environmental impacts of renewables, the wind industry increasingly finds itself on the defensive,” says Shellenberger.
Environmentalists are trying to stop wind turbine construction in California, Ohio, Nebraska, and Hawaii because they threaten birds such as the whooping crane and the marbled murrelet. Writes Shellenberger: “‘Democrats have been sold a false narrative by the industrial wind industry,’ said Kevon Martis, a Michigan-based environmentalist. ‘Many Democrats somehow imagine that industrial wind farms, which take hundreds of times more land than a natural gas plant, are better for the environment,’ he added.”
The plan promotes solar energy as well. Says Shellenberger:
“Even a 10% improvement in the efficiency of solar panels would only slightly reduce the staggering amount of land required to produce the same amount of energy: from 400 times more land than nuclear to 360 times more.”
- “And over the last decade, the vast majority of installed solar panels have only become 2-3% more efficient.”
- “Solar and wind farms around the world require at least 300-400 times more land on average than a natural gas or nuclear plant to produce the same quantity of energy, a calculation easy to make using Google maps.”
- “Vaclav Smil, a widely-respected energy scholar praised by Bill Gates (among others), concluded that it would take 25-50% of all land in the US to go 100% renewable. Today, the US uses just 0.5% of its land for energy.”